The paper in question, “Deficient Smad7 expression: A putative molecular defect in scleroderma,” studied the signaling pathways that may underlie the autoimmune disease. It has been cited 198 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
The authors wish to note the following: “It has recently been brought to our attention that some of the elements in Fig. 3 of our paper may have been fabricated. Unfortunately, because of the time elapsed since publication, we no longer have in our possession the original gels and blots that were used to produce the figure. While we trust that the other data in the paper is genuine and the overall conclusions sound, we have no alternative but to request a retraction of our paper. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
An allegation about figure 3 appeared on PubPeer last November, noting:
Apparent duplication + rotation of bands in Fig. 3A.
The data for this paper was generated between 13 and 16 years ago, and we are trying to find the original data used to produce the figure in question, and also who amongst the authors was responsible for producing the data and the resulting figure.
The pair worked at the Duke University Medical Center at the time the paper was published.
Recently, we saw a paper retracted under similar circumstances — after PubPeer suggested potential image manipulation, the authors could not provide the original data because it had apparently been lost in a flood.
Here is the figure from the retracted paper, Figure 3A, which contains “Apparent duplication + rotation of bands,” according to a peer:
On PubPeer, there is a question about an image in another paper by Goldschmidt-Clermont and Dong, on which Shoukang Zhu, also now at the University of Miami, is also a co-author.
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